France: Sahara settlement only possible through political solution
Morocco-France, Politics, 12/11/2004
French foreign minister, Michel Barnier, reiterated that France has been endeavouring with its partners and with the UNO to promote the idea that only a political solution that is accepted by all parties (to the Sahara issue) and based on the principle of "a large autonomy" can settle the Sahara issue.
The head of the French diplomacy told "Al Ahdath Al Maghribia" daily his country which has good relations both with Morocco and Algeria, "two privileged partners" is tapping into these ties to reach a political solution.
Algeria is extending direct political and diplomatic backing to the Polisario which lays claims on the Sahara, Moroccan southern provinces which were retrieved by Morocco from Spanish occupation in 1975 under an agreement with Spain and Mauritania.
"France is encouraging dialogue and rapprochement between Algiers and Rabat, in the quest of a mutually-accepted settlement," said Barnier, noting that France's good relations with Algeria will prepare the ground for a resolution of the issue.
The EU is also encouraging rapprochement between the two neighboring states through the Euro-Mediterranean mechanisms to which the two north African countries are members, particularly the Mediterranean Forum, the 5+5 dialogue and the Euro-Mediterranean conference.
He added that France is also working with the European Union and the United Nations to solve humanitarian aspect of the issue, in order to obtain the release of all Moroccan prisoners still detained in the Tindouf Camps, in southern Algeria.
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